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Copyright ©2013 Anne Kane
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Brandi stared at her reflection in the mirror. The color suited her better than she'd expected, the lush black velvet contrasting nicely with the soft brown of her skin. She'd had her hair straightened last month, the day before her world fell apart, and it fell just below her shoulders in a shimmery dark curtain. Definitely a good investment.
She twisted sideways, wiggling her butt. Yup. That skirt was short. Real short. Short enough she'd be afraid to bend over. Then again, if she bent over her breasts would probably spill right out of the low-cut top that formed the other half of the costume. Did people really work in outfits like this?
She gave her head a mental shake. Of course they did. If you wanted the big tips, you needed to show off a little of the merchandise.
Life wasn't fair, and happily ever afters only happened on the pages of those sappy romance novels. Losing her job and then watching her husband desert her for a teenaged slut sure brought that one home in a hurry. She needed this job, needed to make some money to pay off the huge stack of bills he'd left her with before she lost her home as well, and in this labor market she couldn't afford to be picky.
When she'd seen the ad for a hostess at a local after-hours club, she'd plastered what she hoped was a come-hither smile on her face and applied for the position. If nothing else, it would give her some breathing room while she figured out what she wanted to do. She'd be damned if she'd let that lecherous excuse for a husband ruin her life.
Opening the front closet, Brandi perused the selection of winter coats. Since she'd been reduced to using public transit, she'd better make sure the skimpy costume didn't get her mugged before she got to the interview. The man who'd dropped off the costume had been very specific. The interview for the job was at three sharp, and the manager did not expect to be kept waiting.
Picking a thick wool coat that fell partway down her calves to hide the scandalous outfit, she made sure she buttoned it all the way up to her chin. Catching a chill and sneezing all over the manager would not improve her chances of getting this job. She grabbed her purse off the side table and locked the door behind her.
* * *
Oh, shit! Brandi folded her hands behind her back and tried not to stare. Greg Bridger. With the way her luck had been going lately, why hadn't she realized it would be him doing the hiring when she desperately needed the job?
Greg Bridger was the guy she'd spent her entire high school career dating. The guy everyone expected her to marry. The guy she'd walked out on for the worthless piece of trash who'd just deserted her for the pom-pom queen.
She hadn't kept track of him for the past ten years, hadn't really given him much thought while she'd been so entranced with her scumbag of a husband. Maybe she should have. He carried himself with a self assurance that spoke volumes.
He wore his dark hair short these days, in a cut that flattered the rugged lines of his face. Six feet tall, he had the muscular frame of someone who spent hours every week at the gym. That hadn't always been the case.
Although he'd been quiet in high school, more of a geek than a jock, Greg had always had plans and dreams, big dreams. Somehow she never thought of him settling for a safe job like manager of an adult club, even if it was the most popular club on the east side of town. Maybe he'd decided to trade in his dreams of corporate success for that fantastic body.
She had no idea if she had a snowball's chance in hell of getting this job. If Greg recognized her, he gave no sign. He circled her slowly, his eyes impersonal as he made notes on the clipboard he was holding. Was it her imagination, or did his eyes linger with just a hint of lust on her cleavage? And should that upset her or give her hope?
Brandi made an effort to rein in her errant libido and tried not to fidget. It wasn't her fault. Seeing Greg again had been a shock, and reawakened feelings she'd long forgotten. He'd been an enthusiastic, if somewhat awkward lover in high school, and he'd matured impressively in the last ten years. Sex appeal was stamped all over his rugged frame, and if she were honest with herself, she had to admit that her husband had never really satisfied her in the bedroom. She'd always longed for him to be a bit more inventive, but he'd never really done more than give her a quick slam-bam before he'd rolled over and commenced snoring.
After the first few disappointing months, she'd resigned herself to a less than inspired sex life. She was surprised to feel the corner of her mouth tugging upward as she wondered if the little tart he'd run off with was getting bored with his insipid technique yet.
"Do you find this amusing? I was under the impression you wanted this job." Frost tinged Greg's voice as he stopped in front of her, one dark eyebrow raised in query.
"Not at all, sir." It was fairly obvious he didn't recognize her, and personal history aside, she really did need this job. "I was thinking of something else. It won't happen again."
"See that it doesn't." His voice rang with disapproval. "I expect my staff to pay close attention to my instructions at all times."
"Of course." Damn. She really needed this job.
"Well, then." His gaze swept over her in frank assessment before he consulted the tablet. "I have to say, I don't feel you are suited for the position."
Brandi felt her heart drop. She really needed this job. "You don't? I'll work really hard, I promise." She hated the whining note in her voice. "I'll do whatever you want me to. Just give me a chance."
A hint of a smile hovered at the corner of his mouth. "I'm afraid not. We are looking for someone younger, someone the clients will keep buying more drinks from in the hopes of getting lucky." His gaze swept over her briefly. "You are definitely not the cheerleader type. The clients would take one look at you and know they were outclassed. I do, however, have another opening that you might be interested in. If you would care to take a seat out in the lobby while I finish up here?"